Nurse keeps faith and strength to fight measles

It was just over a decade ago when she last saw the hospital mortuary packed to capacity with the bodies of the dead. 

The tragic sight was the aftermath of the 2009 tsunami in Samoa which left 149 people dead. 

Fast forward to today and the country has again been hit, but this time by a public health crisis that has so far left 22 dead in a measles epidemic.

Flashes of the 2009 tsunami tragedy continue to come back to haunt a nurse, who currently works at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital, and spoke of the challenges she and her colleagues face at work as the death toll spiked.

Refusing to identify herself, she told the Samoa Observer she was a student nurse, just learning the ropes of her life-saving profession when the tsunami struck to claim lives in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

But today the measles epidemic in Samoa poses a threat, not just to herself and her colleagues in the national hospital, but her two children at home too.

"I know there's a lot of criticisms against nurses right now," she said. 

"But what we're doing is not easy and it's also risky for us as we and our children can get infected as well.

"I know it's not just me, but also the other nurses are being mindful all the time to avoid mistakes, so people would not only criticise us but sometimes pray for our job as it's not easy."

Incredibly, she believes her 1-year-old daughter was infected with the virus, which she believes came from the hospital. 

But her quick action enabled her daughter to undergo medication and a full recovery, to the relief of her family.

Together with her nursing colleagues, the nurse said they are working in overdrive in their bid to beat the epidemic and stop its spread. And they will need the prayers and support of members of the public. 

"Us as a christian country, every struggles and hardships relies on our faith and prayers. If we keep our nation in our prayers, I know everything will be alright and measles has taught me a lesson to pray,” she added. 

The nurse – while sending her condolences to the grieving families who lost loved ones to the epidemic in the last two weeks – said the measles epidemic has compelled her to be extra careful and ensure her work is flawless. 

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